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Here are the scientifically proven benefits of drinking

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Dry January might be in full swing but if you’ve already fallen off the bandwagon don’t feel bad – scientists have just announced a load of reasons why drinking is good for you.

And forget antioxidants, the following are social bonding and psychological benefits.

The research isn’t insubstantial either – data was taken from a large-scale national survey as well as from smaller observational studies conducted by scientists from the University of Oxford’s psychology department.

In news that will cheer up publicans, the scientists found that respondents with a “local” they visited regularly felt more content and were more likely to trust other members of their communities.

Also, those drinking in city bars had shorter conversations and were less engaged with who they were talking to compared to those in community pubs, partly because they were in groups too big to support conversation.

A disclaimer though – the above benefits were only found with modest drinking. And this research showed that it’s pubs that really improve your outlook, so you could choose a mocktail or ginger beer and still probably reap the benefits.

Alcohol is well known to trigger endorphins, the chemicals released in the brain when we’re happy, which could be why social drinking took off with our ancestors. The scientists say it might have been adopted because it improved cohesion, like other bonding activities such as singing, dancing and storytelling.

A group enjoying drinks in a pub.
Getting squiffy could help social cohesion and community bonding (Jonathan Brady/PA)

In fact, it’s now the general consensus amongst archaeologists that early humans probably started growing cereal not for food but to brew beer.

You can read the study, published in Adaptive Human Behavior and Psychology, here.

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